LMC in a spin

The last king tides at Newport Quays (25 & 26 April 2009) exposed a disturbing disconnect between corporate spin and the reality viewed by the rest of the world.

Local residents saw and photographed soil from contaminated soil stockpiles being carried away on the tide but the South Australian government's Land Management Corporation (LMC) is denying any soil was lost.

Are we losing our minds!

This is the very same soil which the EPA and SA Health found to be contaminated after investigating reports of ill effects in children at LeFevre Primary school at Birkenhead in mid 2008.

The LMC stockpiled the contaminated soil on the area surrounding Fletcher's slip at Birkenhead in an attempt to reduce further contamination of the school and surrounding suburbs.

Residents warned the LMC on several occasions that the stockpiles were on land that was subject to flooding.

The photograph on the left below show the tide flowing from the Fletcher's slip gate carrying soil from the contaminated stockpiles. The white bar is about 300mm from the ground and very little of the white bars of the gate are visible below the water line.

The photograph on the right was taken at the same time at Searles boatyard about 100m from the gate. Here the water is clear enough to see the bottom.

Click on the images to view the original photographs

Dirty water from Fletcher's Slip

Dirty water flowing from the Fletcher's Slip gateway.
The white bar is about 300mm from the ground
Clean water from Searles boatyard

Clean water at Searles boatyard

This is not the only evidence of soil removal.

In order to reduce the exposure to wind, the surface of the contaminated soil stockpiles was smoothed down in the construction process. But the bases of stockpiles exposed to the tide show that soil has been eroded from the between the larger lumps leaving a base of which differs from the remainder of the pile.

In addition rain water flowed down the face of the stockpile leaving many obvious rivulets. The rivulets were mostly small, but one was significantly larger (about 0.5m wide and 0.5m deep and running down the face of the stockpile, which is about 5m high).

And the LMC's view:

"The Land Management Corporation can reassure the public that there was no loss of material from the two soil stockpiles in Fletchers Slip reached by tidewater as a result of the storm surge in the Port River during the weekend.
LMC Chief Executive Wayne Gibbings said it is of great concern to LMC that erroneous and misleading statements are being made concerning the remediation program at the Port when every effort is being made by LMC to improve the environmental state of the area and protect the river."

From the Land Management Corporation's press release which can be found here

So what are these guys on about?

Without putting too fine a point on it, it's clear that rain eroded soil from the stockpiles, the tide rose and removed a further amount of soil from the base of the stockpiles and water containing soil flowed out of the Fletcher Slip gate, and into the Port River.

So we'll leave it to the reader to decide who's making the "erroneous and misleading statements"?
And why?

Port Adelaide Residents Environment Protection Group
e: parepg@parepg.org.au